Can You Store Garlic Cloves in Olive Oil?

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You see them every year as the holidays approach: beautiful bottles of colored oil stuffed full with peppers or garlic. Don't even think of using them in your cooking, though. When garlic is coated in oil, conditions are almost perfect for the production of botulism. All that is lacking is some time at room temperature and you have a very hazardous situation, because botulism cannot be seen or tasted. Even refrigerated, garlic in oil should not be kept for more than a week. Try drying your garlic instead.

Things You'll Need

  • Play sand Buckets or plastic tubs Mesh bags Twine Foam or grapevine cone Foam, straw or grapevine wreath base Hot melt glue gun Clear glue sticks Old CD jewel cases
  • Braid it. Drying garlic instead of canning it or leaving it in oil allows most of the essential oils to remain strong and prevent the breakdown of allicin, the active ingredient in garlic. Start with four garlic plants with the greens still attached. Tie the four garlic plants together just below the bulbs, with the greens hanging down. Use the four strand braiding diagram in the photo to guide you as you weave the greens in and out of one another. When you are eight inches from the end of the greens, attach four more garlic bulbs to the braid just above the last eight inches of green. Use those new greens to continue braiding, tucking the ends of the previous four garlic bulb plants into the braid so they don't show. Continue braiding until all your plants are done. Hang the garlic braids in your kitchen. For added color, string a few hot peppers and attach them to your garlic braid.

  • Store in buckets of play sand, uncooked rice, or dried beans. Cover the bottom of a bucket or plastic tub with a layer of sand, uncooked rice or dried beans, about two to three inches thick, then place garlic bulbs on top. If the greens are still attached, cut them off and dry them separately on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Cover bulbs with more sand, rice or dried beans. Keep a cover on the bucket or bin if using edibles to prevent pests. Store in a cool, dry place.

  • Tie a length of braided garlic in a circle and attach it to a foam, straw, or grapevine wreath base. Hang it on your door for a whimsical Halloween decoration: Vampires and werewolves beware. Warning: does not ward zombies.

  • Use a hot melt glue gun to attach a braid of garlic to a foam or grapevine cone to make a Christmas centerpiece. Attach eight to ten dried red peppers as "ornaments." Gift wrap old CD jewel cases and scatter around the base of your "tree." Add Dickens figurines or Christmas themed salt and pepper shakers for a cute tabletop scene.

  • Bunch them up. Lay fresh picked garlic plants on trays in the sun until the greens have dried. Tie dried plants in bunches with a piece of twine and hang in a cool, dry place. To use as decorations, add large bows and several bells. Spray lightly with artificial snow or lay a clump of angel hair around the bulb end of you bunch of garlic.

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